Bad Interview Moments

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Rocío
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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Rocío » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:15 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Rocío wrote:
RickyDnwhyc wrote:Has anyone ever sweared at/called out an interviewer for being an enormous d*bag?


One of my closest friends at OCI had a screener with a big law firm. The interviewer spent the entire time talking about himself, and didn't ask her a single question about herself. She said she did not get a word in beyond the hello. When the interviewer went to open the door for the next student, she stopped him, and said, "while I enjoyed hearing about you, this was not an interview." She then talked at him for two minutes about herself while he awkwardly held onto the door knob. She then said, "thank you," shook his hand, and walked out.


I'm in BigLaw and have interviewed people at callbacks.

There's a good chance your friend talked herself out of an offer with that outburst at the end.

Often, earlier interviewers will tip off later interviewers that a certain candidate is stellar, and the focus of the later interviewers becomes to try to sell the firm, and themselves, to the candidate, rather than to seriously interview the candidate. At that point, the offer is usually in the bag. But not when the candidate does something that weird.

Moral of the story: if the interviewer wants to talk about X, and doesn't want to ask you any questions, then DO NOT make some transition to try to turn the conversation back to how special you are (that will be awkward) - instead, sit back and enjoy the fact that you get to have a relaxed, non-substantive conversation, and minimal participation in the conversation. The interviewer is throwing you a gimme.


That was kind of the point of her outburst - she just didn't care.

Anonymous User
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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:27 am

Start of OCI Screener

Interviewer: So, why do you want to work in City X?

Me: Previously, I worked in City X and loved it. Also, I have an interest in Practice Area Y, among other fields. [The first main paragraph on the firm webpage for that city's office is dedicated to Practice Area Y].

Interviewer: Oh, well, we are probably not a good fit for you then because we don't have Practice Area Y in City X.

Me: Oh, I'm sorry. I thought I had read on the firm website that the City X office did Practice Area Y. I must have read it wrong [Checked it later that night. The page stresses their work in City X on Practice Area Y].

Interviewer: Yeah, they may need to fix the website because I'm pretty sure we only do practice area Z. [Practice Area Z is the one area I would never touch].

Me: .... I think you are right that we won't be a good fit.

The rest of the interview time we spent taking about City X. No CB.

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drmguy
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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby drmguy » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:Start of OCI Screener

Interviewer: So, why do you want to work in City X?

Me: Previously, I worked in City X and loved it. Also, I have an interest in Practice Area Y, among other fields. [The first main paragraph on the firm webpage for that city's office is dedicated to Practice Area Y].

Interviewer: Oh, well, we are probably not a good fit for you then because we don't have Practice Area Y in City X.

Me: Oh, I'm sorry. I thought I had read on the firm website that the City X office did Practice Area Y. I must have read it wrong [Checked it later that night. The page stresses their work in City X on Practice Area Y].

Interviewer: Yeah, they may need to fix the website because I'm pretty sure we only do practice area Z. [Practice Area Z is the one area I would never touch].

Me: .... I think you are right that we won't be a good fit.

The rest of the interview time we spent taking about City X. No CB.

A very similar thing happened to me. They told me the vast majority of their attorneys were in corporate when there were actually ~30% more in litigation than in corporate.

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IAFG
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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby IAFG » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:34 am

f7 wrote:But why should we listen to real law students who have done OCI instead of some 0L who assumes that finance interview advice applies to legal hiring?

Funny thing, one of the no-offered people pretty much said he did what Betharl suggested and that's why he had so few CBs/offers.

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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:34 am

drmguy wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Start of OCI Screener

Interviewer: So, why do you want to work in City X?

Me: Previously, I worked in City X and loved it. Also, I have an interest in Practice Area Y, among other fields. [The first main paragraph on the firm webpage for that city's office is dedicated to Practice Area Y].

Interviewer: Oh, well, we are probably not a good fit for you then because we don't have Practice Area Y in City X.

Me: Oh, I'm sorry. I thought I had read on the firm website that the City X office did Practice Area Y. I must have read it wrong [Checked it later that night. The page stresses their work in City X on Practice Area Y].

Interviewer: Yeah, they may need to fix the website because I'm pretty sure we only do practice area Z. [Practice Area Z is the one area I would never touch].

Me: .... I think you are right that we won't be a good fit.

The rest of the interview time we spent taking about City X. No CB.

A very similar thing happened to me. They told me the vast majority of their attorneys were in corporate when there were actually ~30% more in litigation than in corporate.


In the same vein, my resume screams transactional for emerging companies (for which the firm is well known), yet EVERY SINGLE PERSON I talked to in my CB was litigation.

dreakol
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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby dreakol » Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I said something about wanting to work in a firm of a certain size and the interviewer's like, "So size matters?" And I start cracking up. Did not get a call back.


would loved to have seen this

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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:24 pm

Partner and associate screener (Chicago): Partner looks at my resume, sees I did web design, notes a bullet that says something like "Handling ongoing content needs," and says "So wait - did you do porn sites?"

My mouth opens, but I don't say anything right away. Associate looks at partner - "I think that's one of the questions we're not allowed to ask." No CB.

--

CB interview with associate: "So how is [city where my school is located]?" I begin to answer, then ask in the middle "so have you been there before?" She notes that she is an alum of my school, nods at the degree next to us. Sigh.

Offer.

---

Also told an partner at a screener that I had a fear of responsibility and paying bills growing up. CB.

clintone88
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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby clintone88 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote: Partner looks at my resume and says "So wait - did you do porn sites?"


Well...did you?

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FeelTheHeat
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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby FeelTheHeat » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:09 pm

First words out of the partner's mouth were "what questions do you have about the firm?" I thought of two of the top of my head, he gave one sentence responses to each. Threw me off so much we sat there in silence for 15, 20 seconds. As miserable as I've ever been.

Everything else couldn't have gone better, though.

"Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"

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traehekat
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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby traehekat » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:14 pm

This has surpassed "Things overheard at the LSAT" as my new favorite TLS thread.

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bk1
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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby bk1 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Rocío wrote:One of my closest friends at OCI had a screener with a big law firm. The interviewer spent the entire time talking about himself, and didn't ask her a single question about herself. She said she did not get a word in beyond the hello. When the interviewer went to open the door for the next student, she stopped him, and said, "while I enjoyed hearing about you, this was not an interview." She then talked at him for two minutes about herself while he awkwardly held onto the door knob. She then said, "thank you," shook his hand, and walked out.


I'm in BigLaw and have interviewed people at callbacks.

There's a good chance your friend talked herself out of an offer with that outburst at the end.

Often, earlier interviewers will tip off later interviewers that a certain candidate is stellar, and the focus of the later interviewers becomes to try to sell the firm, and themselves, to the candidate, rather than to seriously interview the candidate. At that point, the offer is usually in the bag. But not when the candidate does something that weird.

Moral of the story: if the interviewer wants to talk about X, and doesn't want to ask you any questions, then DO NOT make some transition to try to turn the conversation back to how special you are (that will be awkward) - instead, sit back and enjoy the fact that you get to have a relaxed, non-substantive conversation, and minimal participation in the conversation. The interviewer is throwing you a gimme.


The story was about a screener, not a CB. I can understand your sentiment i/r/t CBs, but it seems pretty clear when a screener writes you off and that person probably had little to lose at the screener stage. That being said, even then I'd avoid doing something like that since it won't gain you anything (a little bit of pride but who gives a shit) and, while minimal, you might as well not sink your chances at a CB completely.

ETA: Scooped by Dany on the previous page. :oops:

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Deep Trench
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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Deep Trench » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:22 pm

FeelTheHeat wrote:First words out of the partner's mouth were "what questions do you have about the firm?" I thought of two of the top of my head, he gave one sentence responses to each. Threw me off so much we sat there in silence for 15, 20 seconds. As miserable as I've ever been.

Everything else couldn't have gone better, though.

"Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"


Is this a firm in L.A.?

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FeelTheHeat
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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby FeelTheHeat » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:33 pm

Deep Trench wrote:
FeelTheHeat wrote:First words out of the partner's mouth were "what questions do you have about the firm?" I thought of two of the top of my head, he gave one sentence responses to each. Threw me off so much we sat there in silence for 15, 20 seconds. As miserable as I've ever been.

Everything else couldn't have gone better, though.

"Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"


Is this a firm in L.A.?


Nah.

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Deep Trench
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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Deep Trench » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:39 pm

FeelTheHeat wrote:
Deep Trench wrote:
FeelTheHeat wrote:First words out of the partner's mouth were "what questions do you have about the firm?" I thought of two of the top of my head, he gave one sentence responses to each. Threw me off so much we sat there in silence for 15, 20 seconds. As miserable as I've ever been.

Everything else couldn't have gone better, though.

"Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"


Is this a firm in L.A.?


Nah.


Must be a popular stress-interview technique, then.

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bk1
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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby bk1 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:40 pm

Deep Trench wrote:Must be a popular stress-interview technique, then.


I think it's a popular "I'm too lazy to read your resume and/or don't think I'm going to give you a CB/offer" technique.

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Lincoln
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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Lincoln » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:06 pm

sunynp wrote:I dropped my fork at a lunch. The floor wasn't carpeted and it echoed through the whole room. Everyone in the restaurant looked over at me and it went silent for a second- the way it does if a waiter drops something.

I just sat there and acted like nothing happened and the waiter brought over another fork. I turned bright red though.

I also went to an interview a day early. That was embarrassing too. Such an idiot. Everyone that i interviewed with asked me about it the next day. News travels fast.


I know someone who dropped a knife at a CB lunch at Nobu. The mezzanine at nobu has a weird deck with holes in the floor. The knife went through the mezzanine floor and lodged itself, point down, in the floor between two tables on the ground floor. Neither of the lawyers (nor any of the downstairs guests) noticed, and my friend just asked for an extra knife. Offer.

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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:20 pm

This is an awesome thread. I'm an alum and ex-BigLaw now, but to share a couple from my 2L interviewing days:

1. One of my callbacks started with coffee with an associate across the street from the office. The coffee cups didn't have lids. I didn't finish my coffee in 20 minutes, and my self-conscious (and idiotic) thought process was, "I don't want him to think that I'm wasting the coffee that he/the firm paid for, so I'll take it to my next interview with me." I should also mention that I'm a klutz. Suffice it to say that the coffee ended up on a senior partner's carpet. Astonishingly, offer.

2. I also clumsily scheduled an in-town callback the same day as the screener interview for my Top Choice of All Time firm. In theory, there should have been plenty of time to travel from the callback to the screener interview. Enter Murphy's Law. The callback ran long, and of course I couldn't tell that firm, "I'm very sorry, but do you mind if I leave early so as not to miss an interview with the first I most care about?" Then, it took forever to get a taxi. Suffice it to say that I arrived 15 minutes late to a 20 minute screener. The senior partner doing the interview was not impressed. He found my protestations re: how much I wanted to work at this firm less than credible. No CB.

Part two of this story: I interviewed with the same firm for a second-year position when I was a law clerk. Happily, I was not assigned to interview with the aforementioned senior partner. I told several of the interviewers the above story, emphasizing how the firm had been my top choice for two years. Said that while I was so disappointed not to have the chance to summer with them, I was thrilled to have a second chance to arrive on time and to ask them to consider me. They smiled. Offer (and acceptance.)

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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:35 pm

Partner and associate screener combo: after partner asks the obvious opening question my resume begs for, he turns to associate and says to me "She always has interesting questions and marks things she finds interesting on resumes." My resume = no marks, she stammers "um...uh" and asks some bland question, they turn to the what questions do you have for us bit like 5 mins into a 20 minute interview. No CB.

Less bad:At CB interviwer picks up on state I grew up in from resume: "me too." Me: I grew up in X, small farming industrial town. Him "Wow I grew up in the [next town over]. Did you ever eat at [local diner]? Me, yes my mom actually moonlighted there as a lounge singer (she was a music teacher IRL). Him, "holy crap, I probably saw her perform." Offer. And that's why you don't give up on your dreams, b/c your half-hearted attempts to realize them may one day secure your son biglaw!

RickyDnwhyc
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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby RickyDnwhyc » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Partner and associate screener combo: after partner asks the obvious opening question my resume begs for, he turns to associate and says to me "She always has interesting questions and marks things she finds interesting on resumes." My resume = no marks, she stammers "um...uh" and asks some bland question, they turn to the what questions do you have for us bit like 5 mins into a 20 minute interview. No CB.

Less bad:At CB interviwer picks up on state I grew up in from resume: "me too." Me: I grew up in X, small farming industrial town. Him "Wow I grew up in the [next town over]. Did you ever eat at [local diner]? Me, yes my mom actually moonlighted there as a lounge singer (she was a music teacher IRL). Him, "holy crap, I probably saw her perform." Offer. And that's why you don't give up on your dreams, b/c your half-hearted attempts to realize them may one day secure your son biglaw!


Damnit some of these interviews are like the goddamn lottery! Most of them, actually. You really hit the jackpot there. Wow.

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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:44 pm

1) Spent an entire callback plus lunch with my zipper down. I only realized when I hit the bathroom after lunch. I don't know if anyone noticed, but I didn't get an offer.

2) Scheduled a callback the same day as a screener. Of course, the callback went long. I did 80 - 90 on the freeway to try to get to the screener on time, but was still 10 minutes late. Amazingly, I got a callback and an offer.

3) Founding partner of a firm comes into his office where I am waiting, spends 3 or 4 minutes looking at my resume in silence, underlining things, writing notes. The first questions he asks me are how many kids I have and what my wife does.

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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:17 pm

Betharl wrote::( Sheesh, you guys are mean. I prefaced everything I said with some sort of "I don't know the specifics of legal hiring." If that's not what they are looking for at that stage, then don't take the advice. I figured the advice, when applied appropriately, was applicable to any field and was just trying to help.

I'll listen to chup and bow out now, assuming I'm not already banned and this actually gets posted.



Your points were fair and not altogether unreasonable, but it's unusual to rebut someone's counterargument after you've already admitted that you're not knowledgeable on the subject matter.

To your original point, my guess, based on my experience as a 2L interviewee and as a non-legal corporate interviewer is that when the conversation drifts, it's very seldom because the interviewer is testing your ability to steer the conversation back to your qualifications. More likely, is that the interviewer is simply tired of talking about grades/WE/etc. or that they've already made up their mind about you.

It's certainly a possibility that such an interviewer may nonetheless be impressed by your ability to speak to your substantive qualifications, but my unscientific sense is that they'll more often than not find it mildly off putting.

All that being said, all you did was to respectfully share an opinion... I hope that's not enough to get someone banned here!

Entellus
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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Entellus » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:28 pm

Screener with a partner and associate. Every single answer I give, the partner is nodding along and smiling as if I'm spitting pure gold. The associate is shaking her head, rolling her eyes, etc. After about 5 minutes of this I couldn't take it anymore and asked what was going on. I can't remember exactly what they said but it wasn't a very satisfactory answer and to this day I wonder if they were just fucking with me our of boredom.

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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:45 pm

I said these 2 things in interviews.

First OCI during 1L with biggest firm in my hometown. In fact, this was my first job interview ever. After a minute or two of small talk partner asks "so what has been your favorite part about law school so far?" After stammering around a bit I respond "well I like working hard, so it's mainly been being up in the library and gettin' down to business." No callback.

--

A few years back, Callback from OCI. Interviewer asks me about firm I worked for 1L summer, and what type of work they do. I respond by telling him the firm's 2 main practice areas. And then for some reason, I proceed to expand. I tell him that because the firm was smaller in size they have to take whatever business they can get at times-then I say "In other words, they have to shoot whatever Indian comes over the hill at the time." Offer.

--

Also, in an interview with a boutique lit firm, I was asked the question, "do you believe in criminal punishment and retribution or friendly rehabilitation?" Then I was asked "So are you comfortable taking out the trash and vacuuming the floors". . . this was in a skyscraper building that obviously had a highly trained property management staff.

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Lasers
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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Lasers » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:47 pm

so i had back to back interviews and wasn't able to do my usual quick refresher about the latter firm. i go in and right off the bat i get the standard question: so why our firm and this office? i give my spiel on how i love so and so area, how i have family here, etc., making sure to stress all my ties in region X.

the interviewer stares at me blankly for a second or two and says..."oh, so have you contacted our office in region X?"

i just then realize i'm interviewing for an office in a totally different region. i promptly answered "no" and continued with the interview as if nothing happened, going almost 10 minutes over the allotted 20 minutes.

no CB, of course.

RickyDnwhyc
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Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby RickyDnwhyc » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I said these 2 things in interviews.

First OCI during 1L with biggest firm in my hometown. In fact, this was my first job interview ever. After a minute or two of small talk partner asks "so what has been your favorite part about law school so far?" After stammering around a bit I respond "well I like working hard, so it's mainly been being up in the library and gettin' down to business." No callback.

--

A few years back, Callback from OCI. Interviewer asks me about firm I worked for 1L summer, and what type of work they do. I respond by telling him the firm's 2 main practice areas. And then for some reason, I proceed to expand. I tell him that because the firm was smaller in size they have to take whatever business they can get at times-then I say "In other words, they have to shoot whatever Indian comes over the hill at the time." Offer.

--

Also, in an interview with a boutique lit firm, I was asked the question, "do you believe in criminal punishment and retribution or friendly rehabilitation?" Then I was asked "So are you comfortable taking out the trash and vacuuming the floors". . . this was in a skyscraper building that obviously had a highly trained property management staff.


How did you answer that question? And why do you think he asked you if you would take out the trash etc?




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